I’ve had the pleasure of screening some feature-length and short selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which took place April 17th-28th.
Directed by Vivienne Roumani
About the Film
There’s something ironic about telling the story of the demise of books in one of the media formats that helped to contribute to that demise. Yet this documentary is anything but a memorial service for print, instead offering exploring the ways in which the once-popular art form lives on through the advent of new technology that threatens to make it obsolete. Narrated by Meryl Streep, this film, in 55 minutes, starts at the beginning of time, telling a brief and quick history of books as they first came to exist, and then presenting staggering statistics to show just how much has changed even in the past decade. As someone who used to read books constantly as a kid, I can understand how other things have replaced that, especially the Internet and the remarkable encyclopedia of knowledge it provides. When young student are interviewed and said that they associate books with school work and textbooks, it’s astonishing to see what an impact the Internet and e-books have had on society. Neither side is favored, however, as the CEO of Amazon is interviewed alongside the owner of the Strand bookstore in New York City. The complexity of the evolution of the medium is explored as well, best evidenced by the trouble experienced by Google Books when it, as one interviewee says, “privatized public record.” Even if you don’t like reading, you’d be hard-pressed not to find this documentary captivating and extremely timely.
See it or skip it? See it. It will be showing at a few film festivals in the near future – read about them here.